By Charles Etukuri
Toro kingdom officials have called for calm in the kingdom, maintaining that there is no tension between the central government and the kingdom.
The kingdom’s premier Steven Kaliba paid a courtesy call to the minister in charge of the presidency and Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Frank Tumwebaze.
The meeting comes after recent reports indicating that King Oyo had threated to go on a hunger strike over what he claimed was the desecration of his kingdom.
“There is no enmity between President Yoweri Museveni, the Omukama of Toro His Majesty Dr. Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukiidi IV, and the people of Toro,” he told New Vision online shortly after the meet.
Responding to the reports, Kaliba admitted that some self-seeking politicians from the region, who wanted to create a rift, had given President Museveni half-baked information about the kingdom’s activities especially on the issue of the planned fasting by the youthful cultural ruler.
He said: “The king never said he was going on a hunger strike. But he said he was planning to set aside one week to carry a special fasting to pray for his people and seek divine intervention.”
Kaliba was flanked by the kingdom’s Attorney General Edgar Muvunyi Tabaro during the meet with minister Tumwebaze.
They thanked the president for his unprecedented support to Toro Kingdom.
President Yoweri Museveni shakes hands with Omukama of Toro, Oyo Kabamba Iguru. PHOTO/PPU
Meanwhile, the Toro premier said the kingdom felt offended by the statement attributed to the President addressing the king with words such as ‘akavubuka ke Tooro’ and ‘this boy of Tooro’ while addressing the media.
Toro people are culturally sensitive, said Kaliba.
“Any statement that appears to demean the king is taken seriously when a light moment had been introduced in a different context.”
He however said that as one of the regents (Omujwara Kondo) who raised the King, President Museveni referring to King Oyo as “my son” could be seen as an endearment to the young monarch.
“All in all it should not injure the good relationship that we have enjoyed. I call upon the President to be calm,” said the prime minister.
Last week police fired teargas to disperse angry youths under the Amacumu ne Bitara bya Rukirabasaija (the spears and swords of the King of Toro) who were protesting in Fort Portal Town over what they termed as disrespectful remarks by the president.
On whether the kingdom was still insisting on a presidential apology, Kaliba said it was not a matter of life and death.
“It is up to him.”
Museveni (centre) King Oyo Nyimba (right) and Queen Mother Best Kemigisa (left). PHOTO/PPU
He also said that the kingdom had lived in harmony with other communities that surround them and as Prime Minister he would not allow the kingdom to be used by selfish elements to create unnecessary divisions and tension.
On his part, minister Tumwebaze, who also hails from the same region, hailed the kingdom officials for coming out to clear the air, and said the meeting would help end the speculation about the relationship between King Oyo, Toro Kingdom and the President that was beginning to excite many anti-NRM elements.
“We had a good meeting and it helped to clarify quite a number of issues that some sections of the media and other irresponsible politicians had flamed up unnecessarily to try and spoil the long time healthy relationship the kingdom of Toro has enjoyed with the President,” he said.
It is understood both parties will continue to meet and talk frequently.
“We all agreed that indeed no other person can claim to be more of Toro kingdom's friend more than President Museveni. They also have a number of issues that they would want the central government to intervene in and help them. My office will pursue them and brief His Excellency accordingly,” said Tumwebaze.
Toro Prime Minister Kaliba urged the kingdom subjects to remain calm in the wave of the recent instigations by politicians in the area and said that their talks with government over the return of ‘ebyeitu’ (kingdom properties) was on course and that they had met the director of legal affairs at State House, Flora Kiconco, and that very soon the President and the king would be signing a memorandum of understanding.